What is Cuyahoga Falls Energy and Sustainability strategy?
The City of Cuyahoga Falls has begun specific development of both a short-term and a long- term sustainability strategy. This strategy encompasses all sectors, public and private, of the community with initiatives to assist residents, commercial and industrial operations staffs, aswell as school, institutional and municipal facility managers identify best practices in achieving energy efficiency and natural resource conservation goals.
Through membership in the American Public Power Association (APPA) and AmericanMunicipal Power, Inc. (AMP), and as a member of the Department of Energy CommunityEnergy Strategic Planning Academy, Cuyahoga Falls has effectively built a leadership team that has begun extensive outreach to community stakeholders. Stakeholders include, just to name a few, homeowners, businesses, the Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce, the local Homebuilder’s Association, realtors, local building and design professionals, and school facilities managers.
In 2011, the City of Cuyahoga Falls partnered with AMP to bring Efficiency Smart, a program of the Vermont Energy Investment orporation, to establish measurable energy usage reduction goals within each sector of the community. Formal and informal education and outreach, critical components of all sustainability planning, continue to evolve alongside technological advancements in order to effectively generate the awareness and understanding required both to launch and to successfully reach dynamic, measurable goals.
In addition, Cuyahoga Falls is progressive community, proudly participating in a number of several very large AMP joint venture electric generation projects which include clean and renewable sources of power such as wind, landfill gas, and hydroelectric. Cuyahoga Falls Electric System residential and commercial customers may also participate in AMP’s EcoSmart Choice, a green energy-pricing program that supports ongoing development of renewable energy generation projects.
How much does the city/community spend on energy costs each year?
In 2011, total cost for the community’s electric purchase through AMP was $30.5 million.
What political tools can you take advantage of that will help you make your City more sustainable/energy efficient?
Over the past several decades, the City of Cuyahoga Falls has developed strong educational partnerships with the DOE, APPA, the Ohio Department of Development, the Ohio EPA as well as with a number of local environmental agencies in order to build lines of communication that better leverage informational and technological resources.
Business and industrial seminars, school curriculum support, annual residential programs and home energy conservation kits, as well as municipal services such as recycling & litter prevention/beautification programs, community and economic development green infrastructure planning, extraordinary Parks and Recreation facilities, have all provided phenomenal local tools for illustrating and teaching the benefits of energy efficiency and natural resource conservation.
Regional community partnerships have also become an outstanding tool through which communities can learn to work together more effectively and efficiently by sharing resources. Cuyahoga Falls strategic planning will continue to evolve to ensure that the community accesses every resource needed to adopt the very best practices for long-term community sustainability.
What can businesses do to help the City achieve success?
Businesses, large and small, play a key leadership role in achieving energy efficiency and community sustainability goals. Most businesses and industries today understand well how more efficient operations will lead not only to more financially sound practices that save them money, but also how energy efficiency impacts the costs to sustain a solid infrastructure required to bring them the energy resources they need to be successful.
From small commercial companies to our large industrial enterprises, businesses can utilize a number of resources available to them in analyzing how to maximize operational performance through actual facility and equipment upgrades. Cuyahoga Falls businesses that receive electricity through the Cuyahoga Falls Electric System have many resources to assist them with these decisions. Since 1888, the CFES has had an award-winning history of providing reliable, cost-effective electric power and outstanding service. Today, with easily accessible information, technical support and financial incentives available through our public power partnerships, Cuyahoga Falls businesses can make the most informed, economically and environmentally, decisions regarding their daily operations.
Written by Mayor Don Robart.